Although there are many forms of cancer, there are very few caused by external sources. Unfortunately, there is one that is not only caused by an external source, but doesn’t usually manifest itself for twenty to fifty years. In this case, it is called mesothelioma and is caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a fibrous material that was used for a variety of manufacturing products in the 60’s and still exists in many homes and business buildings today. It was primarily used as insulation, but due to the lack of research at the time, no one knew it was capable of causing cancer until it was already too late. These days, asbestos is no longer used for home and office buildings, but the threat still lingers for many older contractors and manufacturing workers.
Mesothelioma develops on the outside of the body’s organs and slowly begins to spread to the heart and lungs. A noticeable trait of people suffering from asbestos is a constant chest pain or inability to breath. This is due to a buildup of fluid in the chest and chest wall.
Although smoking does not cause mesothelioma, it can increase a person’s risk of developing malignant cancer cells from asbestos exposure. Therefore, if you have worked with this deadly material and continue to smoke, you should quit immediately.
Mesothelioma can also cause blood in the lungs, fatigue, severe weight loss, heavy breathing, and even pain in the abdomen. To diagnose this disease, a doctor will do a series of blood tests, X-Rays, CT scans, and lung tests. Although diagnosis can be difficult to obtain, a knowledgeable doctor should be able to whittle down the causes of your symptoms and use the commonalities as clues to help reach a conclusive decision. In some cases, a biopsy might be necessary to finalize the diagnosis.
Treatment for mesothelioma is most often reduced to chemotherapy or radiation therapy, as surgery is much less successful. Nearly 75% of all patients that receive treatment will go into remission, but only 16% of those that rely on surgery will see positive results. Unfortunately, if the cancer is discovered to be in later stages, then treatment might not prove to be as successful, which is common in all cancer treatments.
If you are diagnosed with mesothelioma, your doctor will probably use a combination of radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery. This combination of treatment will provide you with the best chance of success, especially if your cancer is localized to a particular organ or area in your body. If the disease has spread, then you might have to suffer through several bouts of treatment before you are said to be in remission.
If you have ever been exposed to a toxin that even resembles asbestos, then I highly recommend that you get checked as often as possible. Keep regular physical exam dates and make sure to let your doctor know so that he or she does the necessary checks. There is no test for exposure to asbestos, but if you stay on top of your doctor then you will have a better chance of catching the malignancy in its early stages.
Although cancer treatments are improving every day, there is still no cure, which means you need to be as careful as possible. This is very important as you enter your late adult years and enter into the elderly stages of adulthood. Take your health seriously and monitor your own health as often as possible. If you do this, there is no reason that you should have to worry about being diagnosed with stage 3 or 4 cancer or caught by surprise at any time.
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